Information For Parents
The Family Friendly Rating Council (FFRC) provides a uniform rating system to assist parents and educators in selecting video game content appropriate for their children.
Why Are Video Games Rated by the FFRC?
- Before the FFRC rating program was launched in 2012, over 90% of online video games released each year were not rated.
- In our rapidly changing world, games from Russia, Europe, Asia, Asia Pacific and the Americas are being developed for worldwide syndication, distributed not only by major retailers, but also by a large range of internationally administered websites. The FFRC offers parents and educators from all over the world assistance in evaluating whether content is age-appropriate as established by strict international standards.
- As games have become more realistic, parents have become increasingly concerned about the effect of video games on their children’s behavior. With children realistically controlling and witnessing events, it has become imperative to evaluate the player’s actions in the context of real world events.
Research conducted by the FFRC indicates the most consistent ratings came from those with direct experience working with groups of children. FFRC rating reviewers are required to have teaching experience or work with youth in their community. Our raters include a retired youth detective and certified elementary school teachers.
How Are Rating Levels Determined?
Rating standards from the FFRC are not set by the people who make or distribute video games nor by government agencies, but rather by using information from parent surveys concerning what is appropriate for their children. The ratings are continually updated to incorporate feedback from parents and to follow current guidelines from government agencies with regard to privacy of minors.
International standards result in ratings which are stricter than many other rating organizations.
A recent survey from the FFRC revealed that while many parents understand the rating levels of entertainment, they often do not agree with them. The divergence appears to be directly related to changing social norms and to a high level of interactive realism now commonly found in video games. Consequently, the FFRC performed a thorough review of rating methodology to ensure that guidelines used by the FFRC align with the standards of modern parents.
Because of the increasing realism and interactive nature of computer games, parents have requested that special attention be focused on game themes in which players are encouraged or permitted to cause harm to others or to break the law. Mature ratings reflect situations in which players are given direct control of mature situations–in accordance with standard legal age restrictions. Exceptions are made when themes are aimed at teaching players how to deal properly with mature situations, consistent with commonly accepted limits of movie and television ratings.
Each rating is accompanied by a set of content descriptors which signify the type of content present in the game. Each descriptor is combined with a level of mild, moderate and severe which is used in assigning the age level of the game. For Mild descriptors used in the 5+, 10+, 13+ and 16+ levels, the FFRC’s rating standards follow those deemed acceptable by a reasonable person in a public or school environment, which to say, a child would regularly see or hear this behavior at home, in restaurants or at school. For Moderate descriptors used in the 10+, 13+ and 16+ levels a child would see or hear this behavior infrequently or would be frequently viewed in television programming or movies parents deemed appropriate in the FFRC’s surveys.
For more information on rating levels, and a complete list of descriptors, please visit the Rating Descriptions information page.
How Are Video Games Rated by the FFRC?
Upon submission, content creators disclose, in detail, all information that parents may find inappropriate for children. The FFRC uses these disclosures, along with a review of the game’s theme and style, to assign a rating according to the FFRC’s established rating guidelines.